If keeping up-to-date on new cereals is this website’s main mission, then its side quest is to review every kind of raisin bran available on shelves. To everyone out there who hates raisin bran: I’m sorry, but I have to do this for me. As a self-appointed man of the bran, I want my legacy to be “mild-mannered dude with a bizarre passion for pairing dried, wrinkly fruit with grains and milk.”
That phrase better be in my eulogy, or else I swear I’m haunting all of you.
I’ve made good progress on my raisin bran review journey: from the world’s first raisin to undoubtedly the world’s best (so far), I’ve populated Cerealously with enough synonyms for “juicy raisins” to make a thesaurus go extinct. Of course, there are some notable absences—Raisin Nut Bran’s life-changing nut-covered raisins come to mind—and some that slipped into discontinuation before I could photograph them—rest in lame, flavorless pieces, Total Raisin Bran—but the biggest name missing from my raisin bran library has always been Kellogg’s plain ol’, original Raisin Bran.
I think it’s time we put this case to rest—and put the 98% of my readers who don’t care about raisin bran to sleep.
There are two types of people: those who prefer Raisin Bran, and those who prefer Raisin Bran Crunch. I fall squarely in the latter camp, simply because I crave a good crunch. Seriously, nothing beats gnashing through a flake that explodes into bran-flavored shrapnel with enough ferocity to sink a pirate’s schooner.
Since I have this love affair with gnarly noshes, Kellogg’s Raisin Bran’s flakes just make me spiritually sad. They’re redundantly chewy alongside the already chewy raisins, they’re flatly flavored compared to Crunch’s honey and brown sugar-kissed puppies, and they’re so fragile that a mistimed exhale will make them shatter into shards like a legendary RPG weapon you have to spend the rest of the game collecting pieces of.
Except at the end of this quest, you don’t even get to slay a malevolent demon with a buster sword. You just get more busted flakes.
So why do I keep eating plain Kellogg’s Raisin Bran? Easy: because its raisins are unbeatable. These plump, juicy powder kegs explode with sweet, aged grape goodness, while they’re coated with enough sparkling sugar to make them look like freezer-burned purple popsicles and make me sing like a crooning California Raisin. Compared to Raisin Bran’s titular nuggets, Raisin Bran Crunch’s dense mix-ins taste like mummified fruit snacks.
Adding milk to Raisin Bran can be hit or miss. Milk can rejuvenate the nearly wooden bran flakes with its naturally fatty sweetness, but if your flakes are post-break, dairy creaminess will just turn your crumbles into unsweetened oatmeal. At this point, the only way to resuscitate your unpalatable patient is to add a cinnamon dusting and/or maple syrup drizzle.
Or just toss out the flakes and toss in some Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Waffle Crisp. Those raisins deserve a fresher beau anyway.
So overall, I can’t really recommend Raisin Bran to my fellow bran-thusiasts because of its lame flakes and dismal sog-proneness. Sure, this cereal has become a breakfast mainstay for a reason, but I wish Kellogg’s would just merge Raisin Bran’s raisins with Raisin Bran Crunch’s flakes and clusters into a single new cereal called “Raisin Bran XL” or “X-Treme Raisin Bran” or something.
Okay fine: I just really want to go back to the early 2000s, when every adjective started with an X.
The Bowl: Kellogg’s Raisin Bran
The Breakdown: Sublimely saccharine raisins can’t redeem the fragile wood chips that make up the bulk of this cereal. Trick it out with syrup or spices or smooth nut butter—or just switch it out for a better raisin bran.
The Bottom Line: 5.5 dried fruit bucket lists out of 10